Call me nerdy, but all this budget news about the U-2 is making me think about the plane’s storied past – specifically the 1960 incident in which an American pilot operating a CIA U-2 was shot down while conducting a recon mission over the Soviet Union. The incident strained an already tense relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, happening just two weeks before a planned East-West summit in Paris.
Powers was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison during what is largely considered in the West to be a show trial. However, he ended up serving a little under two years before being exchanged for a Russian intelligence officer named Rudolf Abel.
Above is an old-school clip of a news report on Powers’ trial (about half of the clip is about Powers – the other half is about Air Force Col. Joseph Kittinger, which is a cool story in itself). You can also read more about Powers’ case here and about the U-2 here.